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War on workers


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After an early political defeat, George Wallace famously said that nobody would ever “out-nigger” him again. Fearing defeat, Sen. Blanche Lincoln has vowed that no one will out-union her.

Catering to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the hammer of the working class, Lincoln announced early-on her opposition to a bill that would make it easier to form local unions. More unions in Arkansas would mean higher pay for Arkansas workers. And that would mean smaller corporate contributions to politicians like Lincoln; the bosses like a low-wage state. Consistent anti-unionism is how a politician keeps the money coming in.

Continuing her offensive against workers (she calls it a surge), Lincoln, an ostensible Democrat, has now joined Republican senators in blocking the appointment of a union lawyer to the National Labor Relations Board. The Chamber of Commerce wants an NLRB that is 100 percent anti-labor, and through its agents in the Senate, it has for two years blocked appointees considered soft on workers, while the NLRB's assigned duties — overseeing union elections, refereeing labor-management disputes — go largely undone. To the Chamber, an ineffective NLRB is almost as good as no NLRB at all.

The Chamber spends extravagantly to keep working people down where the Chamber thinks they belong. It gets tons of money from the vast corporations it serves, of course, but amazingly, the Chamber also receives funds from the very people it disserves. The victims have no choice in the matter. In Little Rock, for example, the city Board of Directors and other government agencies funnel hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to the local Chamber of Commerce affiliate. A conscientious Board would end these payments; an honorable Chamber would decline to accept them.

?Speaking of George Wallace, the bigotry and injustice that he embodied are still very much alive in his home state, displayed in all their ugliness at a basketball game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Alabama Crimson Tide played last week in Tuscaloosa. Each time that Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke touched the ball, he was booed mercilessly by Alabama fans. How had Clarke engendered such hatred? In a previous game at Fayetteville, he'd been struck in the face by a thuggish Alabama player, an attack so violent and crude that officials ejected the Alabamian from the game. At Tuscaloosa, the Alabama crowd could not forgive Clarke for attacking their man's elbow with his nose. It appears Alabama will hold on to the title it has won repeatedly. They're Number One in bad sportsmanship.


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